BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- French President Jacques Chirac's five-day state visit to China has advanced Sino-French cooperation to a new high, as the two nations commemorate the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties with grand celebrations.
The two nations, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, reiterated their respect for multilateralism and the UN Charter in a joint press communique issued during Chirac's stay in China.
The communique underscored the role of the U.N. in economic and social spheres, saying the two nations support summits of Group of Twenty nations and are considering mutual establishment of new consulates.
During talks with President Chirac, Chinese President Hu Jintao said an annual meeting mechanism between leaders of both countries should be set up, calling for joint effort to push forward the democratization of international relations.
Chirac reaffirmed the one-China policy, saying he opposes any move to intensify the tension across the Taiwan Strait and lead to Taiwan independence.
On Jan. 27, 1964, China and France issued a joint communique, announcing the forging of diplomatic ties with ambassadors to be appointed within three months. France thus became the first major Western country to forge formal diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.
Leaders of both nations have attached great importance to bilateral ties, and recent years have witnessed increasing high-level mutual visits, political dialogues and personal contacts.
President Hu Jintao's state visit to France in January this year furthered the all-around strategic partnership between the two nations, experts say.
The efforts to promote ties have resulted in cooperation that has reached its best in history in the fields of economy, education, culture and science and technology.
The total volume of two-way trade in 2003 amounted to 13.39 billion US dollars, 60.9 percent more than a year earlier, according to Chinese figures. Leading French companies, such as Alcatel, Alstom, Airbus and Carrefour, have seen their business booming in China.
The two nations have signed agreements in science and technology such as environmental protection, development and peaceful use of atomic energy, health and medical science and research and peaceful use of space.
French and Chinese scientists and researchers have been brought closer with more than 700 joint projects. Exchanges in education have also made much headway with approximately 20,000 Chinese students studying in France and about 120 pairs of universities and more than 20 couples of high schools from both countries having set up twinships. The agreement signed by the two nations on mutual recognition of diplomas further boosted the exchanges.
Culture and history have always held a very important position in exchanges between the people of the two nations, which are further pushed forward by the Culture Year jointly launched by China and France from 2003 to 2005.
Under the Culture Year program, from Oct. 2003 to July 2004, the French public were invited to enjoy more than 300 events that presented, as comprehensively as possible, the immense cultural heritage of the "Middle Kingdom".
The Chinese people have their turn now to appreciate and admire the French civilization in The Culture Year of France from Oct. 2004 to July 2005.